If I had to die an early death somehow, I would choose to be eaten by an animal, because it is the most environmentally friendly way to go. Additionally, it would probably happen pretty quickly (as opposed to, say, starving to death). However, this is just a thought experiment. Chances are high that I will live a normal life and die a natural (common) death just like the majority of the human population. Assuming this is the case (and I die a natural death), I do not want to be cremated and I do not want to be buried; I want my remains to be fed to animals (just like the Zoroastrians).
With this in mind, I find it puzzling that so many people are afraid of being eaten, and are afraid when they ponder, “What would it be like to be eaten”? From what I’ve gathered, the human desire to avoid being eaten is a primal urge that I have apparently gone beyond, but that the majority of society has not yet gone beyond. Our ancestors are the ones who didn’t like being eaten. The ones who did like being eaten were eaten, and were unable to reproduce and pass on their genes. So the genes of the “eaten-haters” got passed on, and that is why the majority of society has this primal urge.
But we can change. It is my belief that with enough effort, everyone can live out their lives to the longest possible longevity (i.e. around 90 years of age), and then after dying, have their remains fed to animals. Having remains fed to animals is a much better way to dispose of remains than cremating or burying (not just because it is environmentally friendly, but it serves a purpose as well. Ashes serve no purpose).
Interestingly, I came across several Internet articles which discussed the topic of being eaten:
“You hear, see and read about this all the time. Being eaten alive by anything – shark, giant or otherwise; horde of zombies; rampaging grizzly bear; toothy alien; blob; whatever – is touted by authors and filmmakers as the most horrible way to die ever. Or one of them at least.
I have no doubt it’s terrible. But what is it about this method of dying that MAKES it so terrible? Why is it any worse than being stabbed, or shot, or beheaded? Personally, I kind of think ALL ways of punching your card the final time that involve violence or a great deal of pain are about equally terrifying.[...]
My guess is that fear of being eaten alive is a primal fear, that can be traced back to a time when our ancestors actually had to fear being eaten by large predators ona daily basis. We’re hard wired to want to avoid being eaten, so it’s imprinted on many of our minds as a supremely horrifying thing. Perhaps its rarity in this modern era, when contending with predators large enough to kill you and eat you is a rarity by and large (exceptions can be made for things like sharks, for those who choose to swim or surf in the ocean). It’s just so WRONG to our modern sensibilities to be made so powerless over one’s own environment. We ARE the top of the food chain, after all.
Anyone else have any theories on why this scares us so? And just for grins, opine whether you think being eaten by a large predator or a swarm of tiny ones (like bugs) is more peronally terrifying to you. I guess I’d pick the latter, as I have a touch of arachnaphobia, and a swarm of spiders chowing down on me would really hit me where I live.” — http://www.chud.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-104949.html
To the above quote came the following responses from the website http://www.chud.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-104949.html:
“Because you get turned into poop” — Dross
My response to Dross: Only some of the consumed subject get turned into feces (much of it is used as energy for the animal). And for the part that does turn into feces, it eventually gets turned into dirt or water or some other substance. While some of the consumed person/creature will become feces, that will only be for a short time; then for the billions of years following the consumption process, the consumed person/creature will simply be atoms scattered throughout the universe (the same would happen with any other disposal method).
“I think it’s worse because of the humiliation factor. Humans are the dominant life form on the planet, top of the food chain, and somehow you wound up being eaten by a giant snake. Way to represent the species, loser.” — Nekkerbee
My response to Nekkerbee: I despise this point of view. Nekkerbee has obviously bought into the “common sense” dominant cultural belief that humans are superior to non-human animals. This is not the case, because humans are animals. Just because humans, an abnormal species, has taken over the planet doesn’t mean they are better than all other species. The notion that humans are better is an arrogant view. In addition, a person who is eaten by something is not a “loser” — there is no such thing as a “loser” when it comes to death; death is death. There are unfortunate deaths, but that does not make a person a loser. Additionally, there is nothing “humiliating” about getting eaten, just as there is nothing “humiliating” about dying in a car crash — it just happens. A person who is eaten by an animal is not a loser and is not mis-representing humanity. In fact, in one Buddhist story, getting eaten by something is seen as having humility and compassion for the animal who is devouring him/her.
“Besides it being extremely painful, I think it kind of strips us of our humanity as we see it. People see themselves as the greatest thing on the planet. Indestructible. And yet here we are, probably alone, watching as our body is used as nothing more than a source of sustenance for something we’re supposed to be greater than. Nothing you’ve accomplished in your life matters to this completely unresponsive beast that’s tearing your guts out as you watch. You’re just some food. You are part of this animal’s well balanced breakfast. Nothing more.” — The Gulager
My response to Gulager: I think Gulager paints a pretty accurate picture of what people think — a way of thinking which I completely disagree with. Whereas most people arrogantly see themselves and the rest of humanity as being superior to non-human animals, I see the world completely differently — there is no difference between humans and other animals. The only things that set humans apart are their brains and opposable thumbs — nothing more. Being a creature’s breakfast (in terms of a forced, early death) is a much better way to die than some other kind of accidental death (such as electrocution) because it serves a purpose — it provides the creature with nutrients and energy; the person is sacrificing themselves to help another creature live. In reality, humans are not supposed to be greater than anything.
“People haven’t been used to being considered food for millennia. Outside of cannibalism, we don’t look at ourselves as potential food. So being used that way is pretty horrifying.” — Richard Dickson
My response to Richard: The only reason that people don’t view themselves as food is because of the artificial, delusional, irrational boundary that people have created between themselves and other animals. In reality, humans are just as much a food source as any other animal; it’s just that humans have used their brains to avoid getting eaten in most cases.
As the above quotes demonstrate, most people still have a primal, irrational fear of being eaten that makes them more likely to be disposed of after death via ashes or burial. Additionally, people are conformist — if a person sees thousands of other people being buried and cremated, that person is going to think “that’s the right thing to do”. They fail to see the disposal methods for what they actually are, separate from the cultural biases that have been attached to them. Maybe in the future, people will realize that there is nothing wrong with being eaten, and there is nothing wrong with being fed to animals instead of being cremated/buried.
Because being eaten while alive results in death, this should be avoided just like any other cause of death, but if it does happen, people should not be shocked or horrified (because in terms of accidents, it is not the worst possible accident, because it is environmentally friendly.) However, when it comes to being eaten after having already died, one must realize that there is nothing wrong with feeding one’s remains to animals; this is why I want to be fed to animals after I die (instead of being cremated/buried).
Here is a quote from Hubpages.com:
There is little in this world that taps into our most primal fears like the thought of an animal snacking on us. Just the thought of an animal eating us sends all of our senses reeling, and our fears into overload. Why is this? I feel that it is due to our guilty feelings. We snack on them, so we must be aware that they have the same right. It is something that we all have thought of however briefly. How many animals are actually capable of the feat? More than you might think. Which are the most likely? That is the focus of this article. Here are ten animals that can eat you for breakfast.” — http://hubpages.com/hub/Every-Wondered-What-it-Would-be-Like-to-Be-Eaten-Alive-By-an-Animal
The above article (http://hubpages.com/hub/Every-Wondered-What-it-Would-be-Like-to-Be-Eaten-Alive-By-an-Animal) goes on to list 10 animals which are capable of eating a person, which include mountain lions, reticulated pythons, sharks, bears, tigers, lions, alligators and crocodiles.
And lastly, what is the answer to the question “What’s it like to be eaten?” (assuming that the person is eaten while still alive). The answer is, there is no clear answer. It would probably depend on how one is eaten. If a person is eaten by a large shark, the process of being eaten would probably be painful but quick. If one were to be eaten by a large snake (such as an Anaconda), the person would probably lose consciousness (during constriction) before being swallowed. So the real answer to “What’s it like to be eaten” is: it depends on the situation.